Back in 2006, Transport for London (TfL) looked to the future. Always on the hunt for ways to make life easier for passengers, they’d heard about a potentially ground-breaking new technology.
Contactless payments promised a faster, simpler experience for passengers – and an end to long, winding queues at Euston, Waterloo and stations across the capital.
But ideas don’t become reality without commitment, energy and strong connections.
Mike Tuckett is the overall project sponsor for the contactless rollout at TfL. He saw the opportunity, but knew he’d need the right support to get there.
“We were thinking about our strategy for the long-term future of the Oyster card, and we became aware of the technology,” he says. “We could see the huge opportunities it could have in transport, but we needed the support of financial organisations to get there.”
“Barclaycard were always the keenest to issue contactless cards. It was critical to us to have an issuer who was so positive and who led the industry, so we chose to partner with them to move the project forward.
“Months and years before it had a clear strategic use for us, Barclaycard had shown us they were serious about it.”
Contactless is a fast, easy and secure way to pay for your journey. There’s no queuing for tickets or top-ups – you just touch your card on the reader and go. The smart technology in the TfL system also calculates the best fare, capping your daily and weekly Monday to Sunday travel spend.
“This project is genuinely innovative,” says Mike. “It’s a ground-breaking concept that could transform the approach to ticketing around the world.”
Mike can’t imagine reaching his destination without Barclaycard.
“To get through the project, we needed a card acquirer and issuer motivated to make it work. Barclaycard was exactly that,” he says.
“They’ve helped us make huge changes to our processing system and also educate other issuers on necessary changes to their back-office systems. They also helped us broker an ambitious agreement with all the main issuers.”
“In the retail market, if you pass a certain limit on your contactless card, you’re asked to enter your PIN. It just wouldn’t work on a busy transport system and Barclaycard helped us deliver this.”
Contactless technology has now been rolled out across the entire network of Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, buses and National Rail services that accept Oyster.
“The growth in the use of contactless is phenomenal,” says Mike. “There’s no evidence of customers having problems with it. They try it, like it, keep using it – and the word gets around.”